Pack Subtle, Travel Light.

I’ve packed for all sorts of trips over the years. Long distance wilderness treks with no resupply, day hikes, heck just a trip around town requires a certain level of preparation when you think about it. “Keys? Wallet? Hat? Awesome!” Packing for a long-term backpacking trip abroad though? This has been a new adventure for me and the hassle of mixing hostels with homestays and a few multi-day wilderness treks hasn’t made it any easier. So let’s break down what seemed “necessary” for four months in the Transcaucasus & Anatolia, in the vein of a classic packing list!

The first decision was the pack itself: I own quite a few, but unfortunately neon colored nylon and loud branding is not the kind of thing you want to be toting around in poor countries where you’re off the beaten path. Thankfully I picked up a robust 22L Klettersack some years back before MEC went full-profiteering (a post for another day) , and so I had my pack. Only 22L though? Most people would consider that a daypack, not to live out of for four months!

Mmm, Preparations
Mmm, Preparations


Years of ultralight hiking philosophy when it came to buying gear came to my rescue here, as you’ll see:

Clockwise, spiralling inwards:
– Swimshorts
– Light beige pants, nylon with drytek
– 100% Merino hoodie
– 100% Merino long-johns (sleeping)
– 3x 100% Merino Boxers
– Black 100% Merino T-shirt
– Beige / grey 100% Merino T-shirt
– 4x Merino socks of various weights.
– Brown Prana Zion zip-off pants.
– White cotton over-shirt (Not pictured)
– Green windbreaker / rainjacket (Not pictured, being waterproofed)

You may notice that that is a metric…ounce or two of Merino. Frankly, it’s a wonder material: It takes forever to get smelly, it keeps me warm, it keeps me cool, it dries almost instantly, it remains slightly insulating when wet. It also doesn’t wrinkle and compresses down to basically nothing, while weighing nothing. I cannot sing the praises of it more, to be honest, it’s never let me down and arguably saved my ass over the years.

Small Gear

All the crap a traveler can’t do without these days, eh? Thankfully, again, it’s bulkier than it looks at first glance:

Large items:
– 5L silnylon compression sack
– 5L stuff sack (ultimately not used)
– Shoulderbag for day use
– Brazilian Tarp Hat

Electronics & Misc
– Medical kit (in yellow)
– Olympus OMD-EM5 w/ Flash unit & spare eyecup (breaks easily)
– Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens
– Olympus 12-50mm F/3.5-6 Lens
– 4x OMD Batteries (400ish shots/per)
– 32gb SD card, 32GB SD card, 64GB SD card

-2GB SD card (Border security will sometimes check cameras when leaving Abkhazia. Taking several dozen shots on this during my stay, and leaving it in the camera, is a precautionary measure).

  • Olympus charger + Euro plug
  • Olympus Cable + USB OTG adapter (with this I can pull .raw files to my phone for editing and backup to the cloud).
  • USB charger & Cable
  • 20,000 Mah Li-On Battery Bank (7.5 charges for my Z3C).
  • Camera Clip
  • Silnylon Poncho / Tarp (For the backpacking trips)
  • Camera Cleaning supplies
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, sanitizer, deodorant, sunscreen, comb)
  • 2x Journals & Pen
  • 3x Custom phrasebooks with itineraries and & guides to each destination
  • Passport.

Pfew, that’s a hell of a lot of random stuff to cart around. But how small do all these clothes and sundry pack down? Well….

Really, really small!
Really, really small!

Toiletries, Electronics, Clothes. My foot is a size 9, for reference. So that was easy! But we’re not done yet.


  • Silk hidden pocket
  • Small packtowel (these things are so handy!)
  • Enlightened Equipment “Enigma” Down Quilt
  • 2x Platypus 1L folding waterbottles
  • Moneybelt
  • Pouch for Electronics
  • Slik Sprint Pro-II Tripod
  • Ridgerest (abandoned as too bulky, ultra-thin foam bivvy liner taken instead!)
  • The grand old MEC Klettersack.

Throw in a pair of Tiva sandals and my trekking shoes, and we’re off to the races! But did it all fit in the pack in the end?

Damn straight it did, and with room to spare. We’ll find out how well things go in the weeks ahead.  Frankly in the end I feel I may have packed too much for a trip like this, but life is a learning experience, no?

All packed and ready to go!
All packed and ready to go!

One thought on “Pack Subtle, Travel Light.

  1. octavian Reply

    Nice! 🙂

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